Sunday, March 24, 2013


As I was here thinking back over the last few weeks trying to figure out what to share with you the words PRAYER…VISION…PLANNING…WAITING…


 I have spent a lot of time in prayer over last few weeks. Praying for a wide range of things from wisdom & guidance as I serve here in Haiti with the many decisions I must make daily…to healing from the many illnesses Satan has been attacking me with…that God would increase my ability to learn Creole so I can better communicate with my workers and children! The other night my heart was so heavy & burdened with prayer requests…I sat down and drew out a heart and began writing in that heart all my prayers requests. The verse that is the border to this heart is Philippians 4:4-8

“Rejoice in the LORD always…I will say it again” REJOICE! Let you gentleness be evident to all. The LORD is near. Do not be anxious about ANYTHING but in everything by prayer and petition present your requests to God and a PEACE that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts & minds in Christ Jesus… FINALLY brothers whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things….I have learned to be content no matter what my circumstances!”


The last few weeks I have had many moments of frustration for a multitude of reasons…some justifiable and some selfish frustrations…The following are a few of my moments of frustration

·         Getting attack with 1 illness after another (Staph Infection, yeast infection from antibiotics, upper-respiratory infection and Typhoid and to top it off I am getting another sore throat). I just want to do what I came here to do therapy and to love on these kids, staff, and families!

·         Language Barrier preventing good communication between families, staff and children. Preventing me from doing as much education as I would like and giving them the encouragement I so want to!

·         Lack of Water and the # of bucket baths…

·         Lack of Power and my good flashlight breaking which meant dark room once power went off

·         All the changes happening especially with the food here in Haiti

I could go on with more BUT the important thing is that God has taught me 5 important lessons through my frustrations the last few weeks

1.)    The importance of PATIENCE and how much I am lacking it…All the things above are due to my desire for instant gratification…I want to be better NOW…I want the water situation, food situation, power situation to be fixed NOW…I want to learn Creole NOW… I realized how this “instant gratification” mindset is so much more embedded in the “American culture” verses the “Haitian culture”. The Haitians are so PATIENT…I want to be more like the Haitians when it comes to PATIENCE.

§         “But those who HOPE in the Lord will RENEW their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not grow faint.” Is 40:31

2.)    The importance of having JOY despite my circumstances

§         "I have learned to be content no matter what my circumstance.” Phil 4

3.)    God’s strength is make PERFECT in our WEAKNESSES

§         “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Cor 12:9

4.)    My Heart and Flesh will Fail Me AND the only thing that won’t is CHRIST ALONE

§         “My Flesh and My Heart Fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Ps. 74:23

5.)    I must find my STRENGTH in Christ alone!

§         “The Joy of the Lord will be my strength!” Nehemiah 8:10


Although Satan has been attacking my health and I have had 1 illness after another (Staph Infection, yeast infection from antibiotics, upper-respiratory infection and Typhoid and to top it off I am getting another sore throat). God has been faithful in providing me with the medicine and treatments I needed…amazing mission family to support me & pray me through it. He has taught me many lessons. I am praising God that everyday my health is improving…that everyday I have more energy…AND that daily he teaches me through the challenges he places in my life!


As I have been praying God has been showing me little glimpses and more details into what he has in store for me as I serve here in Haiti.

1.)    FJS OUTREACH PROGRAM: He has given me a deeper vision for my outreach program which I am super EXCITED about. Presidue, Nahum, Stephanie and myself are really praying over what God has showing me. We are praying on provision, resources, and sustainability along with the right timing on moving forward with each part. I will share more on this as God leads! Please be in prayer with us over this.

2.)    BUILDING/CREATING THERAPY SUPPLES: My Crate of therapy supplies (wheelchairs, trip-trap chairs, bean bags, tumble-form feeder seats, trampoline, sand for sandbox, scooter board ramp, therapy swings, etc.) has still not arrived. I am trying to stay positive & trusting someday they will arrive. Until they do though…my kids need better positioning. I was praying over this and God showed me the following ideas….

a.      KNEE & ELBOW BLOCKS: I have been working with a few of the severe & profound children on weight bearing through their arms and legs.
Many of the children are unable to do this without bending their elbows or knees and I do not have enough hands to support their knees and bodies or elbows and bodies. Presidue has been helping me make knee and elbow blocks for the kids that need them. Hopefully in the coming months we will be able to make needed hand braces as well.

b.  ADAPTED HAITIAN CHAIRS: the idea seeing if the Haitian who makes the little wood chairs would be willing to take custom sizes for chairs. After talking with him, he has agreed to try. Last week he brought the first sample chair for Niaka. It looked pretty good but needed a few minor changes to work. He said he will be back in a few days with another one with the adaptations. I can’t wait to see it and hopefully move forward on having him make one for each severe & profound Miriam Center child. Justin came up with the idea to use suspenders as the strapping on the chairs and Kimmy’s House has picked up some to bring in :-) I am so EXCITED for what these chairs will mean for better positioning for the kids. I am hoping to be able to then have the Haitian start making these chairs for outreach kids as well. 


c.THERAPY POSITIONING MATS: Many of the severe and profound children’s leg contractures are getting worse. I got the idea yesterday of using foam floor tiles and ductape to create floor mats with positioners ductaped on to hold each child’s legs in the most appropriate positioning.  I have finished 2 (Job and Emma’s) but have 5-6 more to go. Unfortunately I ran out of ductape but have more on the way :-) I plan on starting out having the children use these during the preschool but hoping they can progress to using them at night!

d.      PVC PIPE HANGERS: I got the idea for these a few years ago but was reminded of the idea the past few weeks. I want to create toy hangers that would hang over the children while they are lying down for stimulation and to provide them with toys to play with. I also want to make these for my outreach kiddos. Please keep your eyes out for toys that can be hung from these for me at yard sales or if you have babies that grow out of them.

e.       CORNER CHAIRS; STANDERS: I have a book about making therapy equipment in villages. I was flipping through it while I was sick and getting tons of ideas of positional equipment I can make. I plan on looking into buying plywood while I am in the DR to build some equipment when teams come in this summer.

f.       THERAPY TRAINING HANDOUTS: I want to make a some new training handouts for outreach including therapy ball, sitting/core-strengthening, neck strengthening, standing, walking, etc. I feel that we are ready to go to the next level and start individualizing therapy more and training parents how to work specifically on their child’s problems. Last year was focused on generally working with their child and learning techniques that would benefit all the children like massage, therapy brushing, oral-motor, etc.

g. Boppy Pillows: To increase positioning for tummy-time, prop sitting and feeding.

3.)    MIRIAM CENTER WEEKEND DAY STAFF: I spent all last summer pouring into the weekday staff especially the severe & profound preschool. My goal this year is to pour into the weekend staff so that the kids can have activities on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. This past Saturday I helped them put the severe & profound in the birdcage for tummy-time with mirrors, vibrating therapy brushes, bubbles, and rattle play. It was so wonderful to see them so excited to be empowered to play/work with the kids. I am excited to continue with this.


I feel like in Haiti it is all about WAITING...For example so many of my plans and  idea are on hold while we WAIT for the new Miriam Center building to be finished. WAITING for my crate to get released from customs…WAITING to get better…WAITING for supplies to arrive to start/finish projects…WAITING for equiptment to be built…WAITING for the power to turn on…WAITING for their to be water…WAITING to hear from God…WAITING for God to reveal His timing and His plans! BUT I am reminded of the song “While I’m Waiting.” The following are the Lyrics…

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting

I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Monday, March 11, 2013

My First Week Back In Haiti

I am not sure how to put into words my first week in Haiti. It has been a hard week on so many levels but so wonderful on another level. I have processed through emotions of Happiness, Contentment, Joy, Excitement…but also through fear, anger, uncertainty. At times it feels surreal that I am really living in Haiti…My dream has been fulfilled…I am doing God’s will…what He has called me to AND that makes me Happy! I thought I would share the projects I worked on and some highlight moments from my week.

This week I focused on the following….

1. Settling In: I have a really awesome room that has space for me to have a small treatment room/office at 1 end and a bunkbead and shelves on the other end where Molly my ST intern will be staying with me. All my luggage arrived 3 days after I did in 1 piece BUT my carry-on which had all my books in it arrived chocolate covered. Took me a few hours to semi-dechocolatize. I unpacked all the toys and surprised Nahum and Presidue with the AMAZING new toys for the outreach toy lending program and the Luke 2:52 school.  It has been very chilly in the evenings and I am so glad I brought a pair of wind pants and long-sleeve shirts.
2. Cleaning/organizing the supply/toy depot: This is always a treat. When I arrived you could barely walk into this closet (I wish I would have taken a before picture…) I had to face many fears including 5 huge spiders…debri a rat left behind (fearing that every container I moved I would find it) and lots of dirt! The finished product though is a very functional space for outreach and the classrooms. The floor is nice and open and I might use it for another small therapy clinic.
3. Setting up a small therapy clinic in my Room: At 1 end of my room I have begun setting up a small therapy clinic where I can perform 1:1 therapy treatment sessions. I have organized bins of supplies, a desk area where we can sit to work, and a therapy matt on the floor as a work area as well. I am almost finished making therapy folders for each child ( I have 15 more bios to write and evals to do on kids). I am excited for the chance to do more individualized treatments with the kids.

4.Communicating/Catching up/Getting on the same page with Stephanie, Nahum, and Presidue: God has truly blessed me with an AMAZING team of loving/caring individuals to fight alongside me for these children. Being away for 6 months A LOT happens in Haiti and so it was great to get onto the same page with not only the leadership team but all the workers and Mission staff. This week has been full of changes and so we tried to meet frequently to discuss and stay on the same page. We did a lot of discussing the future with nutrition/options to boost it, supplies/supply runs to the DR, ways to improve outreach, the bags the outreach moms will make for redeeming gifts, etc.
5.Loving on the Kids!: Words cannot express how wonderful it is to hold, rock, kiss, hug, snuggle, sing to, dance with, and go through night-time routine with my kids…ANYTIME I want! So thankful for that opportunity.

Highlights Of The Week

1. Getting see my Haitian family/staff and work alongside them. I am so thankful for the amazing staff God has blessed the Miriam Center with. I love watching them love on the kids and care for them. Seeing the way that they fight for them.

2. Getting to see my outreach families and love on their children- especially George. George 3 years ago could sit on his own and play with toys. Last summer his seizures were so bad he could not move on him and had multiple seizures an hour. It was so wonderful to see him now after consulting with the seizure team & getting on seizure meds!!! Another child who has made great gains over the last few months has been Ralph. Ralph is walking with support under the arms!!!! Paul Frantz mom could not wait to tell me her son is now weight-bearing and standing with support.  I loved seeing the mothers reactions seeing I was back, holding each of the kids, and loving on them!!!  Most of all I LOVE seeing how empower Presidue is with running the program and pouring into these families and the result being all these children are making progress!!!!

3. Taking the kids to the playground- especially watching Jimson & Dan Kelly enjoying the playground

4. Working with Gildine on standing, Love-Jinnie on sitting, and Steven & Mary-Julie on walking and seeing them making progress.

5. Gilbert helping me learn Creole from the flashcards on my iphone

6. Watching the Miriam Home Staff run Miriam Home church and worshipping alongside of them while holding & loving on the kids!